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ALFRED SHAW & CO. LTD., BRISBANE, MELBOURNE, LONDON, IRONMONGER

This common Queensland One Penny postcard had an unframed duplex MARYBOROUGH/ A/ JU 9/ 94/ QUEENSLAND with double side arcs postmark with the QL obliterator.  This specific configuration with Code A is listed by Cowan & Dell as having squares before and after the town name, and not arcs.  The postcard was addressed to Mr. R. Kennedy, Store Keeper, Gympie (Figure 1).

 

The reverse described the firm was into Hardware, Crockery & Agricultural Implements and their representative was to call on the storekeeper on 13th inst.  The firm’s specialties included an unusual array, as listed at the left hand side:  Crockery, Glassware, Galvanised Iron, Fencing Wire, Kerosene, Windmills, Powder, Dynamite, Buggies, Wagons, English Hardware, Pumps, American Goods, Plated Ware, Brush Ware, Tin Ware and ‘Wheelstuff’ (Figure 2).

 

A more sophisticated cover for Alfred Shaw & Co., Wholesale Ironmongers, Brisbane 1913  is seen in Figure 3.

 

An advertisement for this large company, with additional stores in Townsville devoted to wholesale, retail, iron store, bulk store, kerosene store and machinery department described that they were importers of general furnishing and builders ironmongery, mining, station, plantation and well-boring requisition.  Their range of goods additional mentioned stoves, ranges, pumps, sporting goods, brushware, steam and water fittings.  Under the heading of agencies that they represented, the following items were added machinery oils, fireproof safes, ploughs, paints, oils & colours, guns & rifles, artesian casing and roofing nails.  I am sure you get an idea of their products, but no mention of the kitchen sink!  (Figure 4).

 

Alfred Henry Shaw was born on 8 August 1832 in Huddersfield, England and he arrived in Melbourne on 19 July 1853 in the North Atlantic which sailed from Liverpool.  His brother Joseph had arrive in Melbourne before him.  The town was in a frenzy of the Gold Rush and Alfred married Hannah Heywood at Collingwood in July 1854, his occupation being listed as a tinsmith.  His brother died aged 30 of phthisis (tuberculosis) and Joseph’s business was transferred to Alfred and he supplied basic hardware to the Victorian gold miners in Ballarat, Chiltern, Indigo and Wahgunyah.  

In 1867 Alfred closed down his retail business in Melbourne.  In 1868 Alfred Shaw & Co. was at an address of 42 Little Collins St. in Melbourne and by 1872 the growth of the business made it necessary to establish a London office.  In 1875 Alfred Shaw & Co. expanded into Brisbane and in 1888 into Townsville.  After the death of his first wife, he remarried , lived in Perth and Kalgoorlie, and back in Perth from 1901 until his death on 17 August 1908.  A picture of Alfred Henry Shaw is seen in Figure 5.

 

There is evidence that the firm had branches in Sydney, Perth and New Zealand, but to date I have not found when the company name was taken over by another firm or deregistered.

I am indebted to Rob Beresford who is a great great grandson of Alfred Henry Shaw for sharing with me information about the family.  My excerpts are a mere shadow of his information.

 
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